After years of digital purgatory, the rap trio’s first six albums are now available, just weeks after the death of Trugoy the Dove
After years of long delays and legal disputes, De La Soul’s catalog is finally available on streaming services. The bittersweet return follows the death of David “Trugoy the Dove” Jolicoeur at age 54 in February.
De La Soul’s back catalog had been stuck in digital purgatory for years thanks to various issues including the myriad of uncleared samples that defined the sound of De La Soul’s classic records, but made them a legal minefield when it came to making them available online. In 2014, De La Soul decided to bypass official channels and made their music available for free for a brief period of time.
The rights to the band’s catalog were also stymied in major label red tape from their time at Warner Bros. Records. In 2019, that seemed to get cleared away when De La Soul’s original label, Tommy Boy, regained control of the trio’s catalog — but troubled negotiations over the streaming rights led to a rift with Tommy Boy before any music was released online.
After a two-year battle with Tommy Boy Records, music rights company Reservoir Media acquired Tommy Boy in June 2021, and eventually, De La Soul retrieved their masters the following August.
Surviving memebers Maseo and Posdnuos paid tribute to Trugoy in heartfelt letters posted to social media. “I remember your mom calling you Dove, so you’ve always had wings, so go on and fly into the light,” Maseo wrote. “Merce and I will make sure your legacy is well preserved.”
De La Soul’s 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising, 1991’s De La Soul Is Dead, 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate, 1996’s Stakes Is High, 2000’s Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, and 2001’s AOI: The Bionix are now available on streaming services.